Terror attack kills 21 in Mumbai

Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing 21 people and wounding 141 in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

Bloody bodies were strewn in the dirt of Mumbai's crowded neighborhoods and markets. Doors were ripped off storefronts, motorcycles were charred and a bus stop was shredded. After the blasts in three separate neighborhoods, police set up checkpoints and were put on high alert.



The bombings came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi has blamed for past attacks.



Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed to the people of Mumbai "to remain calm and show a united face."



There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and Indian officials refused to speculate on who might be behind the blasts.



Indian officials have accused Pakistan's powerful spy agency of helping coordinate and fund earlier attacks, including the Mumbai siege, which killed 166 people over three days. Peace talks between the countries were suspended after the siege and resumed only recently.



Pakistan's government expressed distress about the loss of lives and injuries soon after Wednesday's blasts were reported.



U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the "outrageous attacks."



"The American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice," he said in a statement. "I have no doubt that India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks."



Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will go ahead with her plans to visit India next week despite the bombings. Standing with India "is more important than ever," she said.



The bombings began with an explosion that ripped through the famed Jhaveri Bazaar jewelry market at 6:54 p.m. A minute later, a blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, several miles (kilometers) away in southern Mumbai. At 7:05 p.m., the third bomb exploded in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai, according to police.



Because of the close timing of the blasts, "we infer that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.



A lifeless body lay on a cart. Survivors carried the wounded to taxis. One man was dragged out of the area on a red board used as a stretcher. Bleeding victims crowded into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital, where wards were filled with the wounded, slathered in white burn cream.



At Jhaveri Bazaar, a witness described two motorcycles exploding in flames and saw at least six bodies.



"People were shouting 'Help me, help me,"' the man told Headlines Today television.



People hugged and wept. Crowds gathered in the blast areas as police questioned witnesses, and investigators wearing gloves sifted through the debris for clues.



The government said the blasts killed 21 people and wounded 141 others.



"India is not going to cow down," Cabinet minister Farooq Abdullah said. "Let those perpetrators of this terror remember, we will find them and Inshallah (God willing) we will give them the justice that India believes in."



A U.S. official said there were no immediate claims of responsibility, or firm indication of which terrorist group might be behind the attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.



The blasts marked the first major attack on Mumbai since 10 militants laid siege to the city for 60 hours in November 2008. That attack targeted two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station.



C. Uday Bhaskar, a defense analyst, said the bombings showed that Mumbai remained vulnerable despite precautions taken after the 2008 attack.



"The local police still does not have either the capability or the capacity to pre-empt such attacks, and this is going to be a constant challenge," he said.



Some media incorrectly reported Wednesday's blasts happened on the birthday of Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Kasab, who was sentenced to death in Mumbai, was born on Sept. 13.



The city has been on edge since the 2008 attack. In December, authorities deployed extra police on city streets after receiving intelligence that a Pakistan-based militant group was planning an attack over New Year's weekend.



In March 2010, Mumbai police said they prevented a major terrorist strike after they arrested two Indian men, who, police said, were preparing to hit several targets in the city. In September, police issued a terror alert for the city during a popular Hindu festival.



Last month, India and Pakistan held their first formal talks on the disputed region of Kashmir since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Both nuclear-armed nations claim Kashmir in its entirety, and have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
Voices
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas